News & Multimedia

ROP Day 1

“No,” Michel Jourdain Jr. said, shaking his head. “It doesn’t feel like 16 years ago I was here.”

It didn’t appear so either.

Jourdain completed all three phases of the refresher course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he began preparations to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 for the second time. Driving the No. 30 Honda-powered Office Depot/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car, Jourdain recorded 73 laps during the day set aside for the Rookie Orientation Program and refreshers on the 2.5-mile oval.

Six drivers completed the three required speed phases totaling 40 laps, clearing the way for them to compete in the 500 Mile Race on May 27: Josef Newgarden and Bryan Clauson of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, James Jakes of Dale Coyne Racing, Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports and Rubens Barrichello of KV Racing Technology.

Wade Cunningham of A.J. Foyt Racing completed two of the three phases. He along with Jean Alesi of Fan Force United can complete the final phase when ROP resumes at 4:30 p.m. May 11.

Jourdain last competed in the “500” in 1996, qualifying eighth and finishing 13th. The session on the Speedway asphalt was his first laps in an Indy car on an oval since 2004 (Milwaukee and Las Vegas).

“It’s fantastic. I was really enjoying it out there,” said Jourdain, 35, of Mexico City. “The first phase is quite hard to judge and get the right line when you’re going at a speed the car is not supposed to go (200-205 mph). The second and third phases are easier. This was a starting point. I wanted to be patient, get through it with not making any stupid mistakes and go little by little. I think we did that.”

Added team co-owner Bobby Rahal, who watched Jourdain win the Montreal and Milwaukee CART races in 2003 in a Team Rahal car: “Today was all about getting through the test. You don’t have the car trimmed out; it’s just get through it and get on with it. It’s as much about making sure we’re ready to go on (Opening Day May 12). I’m really pleased. We’ve been friends for a long time and when he drove for me he was damn good and won some races and should have won some more frankly. I’m pleased he’s back and hopeful we can have a good month and hopeful we can put together something longer term.”

Jakes set the fastest lap of the session of 41.2338 seconds (218.268 mph) in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda. Though he went through ROP in 2011, Jakes failed to qualify for the 33-car starting lineup on Bump Day.

“I have mixed memories of this place,” Jakes said. “Obviously, I love driving around here. There’s no place like it, but going home last year was probably one of the lowest points of my racing career. I’ve never not been able to get into a race before, and it really got to me last year. But we said this year we wouldn’t be in the same situation, and we’ve started things the right way. It’s only ROP, but we sailed through the first three stages and it went well.

“I think I would have happy going straight out there, but it’s good. You never complain about getting free laps on free tires, you know. I think it’s good, and I think they should maybe have a refresher day for everybody. You know, when you come from another track the speeds are so much greater here than everywhere else, and all it takes is one mistake to have a big accident. So I think the idea of the ROP is good.”

Barrichello, who also will attempt to qualify for his first Indy 500, also appreciated the warm-up to full activity. He completed an IZOD IndyCar Series oval test May 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I want to thank INDYCAR for having the ROP,” he said. “It allows you to progress gradually without too much pressure, so I was at ease with my car and the whole process. I have a great teacher in (KV Racing Technology teammate) Tony (Kanaan) and the whole team seemed to be out here, even the mechanics and engineers from Tony and E.J.'s car, so everyone was here to help me out. Overall, I had a very successful day and look forward to practice again on Saturday."

 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
ROP Day 1
 
ROP Day 1
Jourdain completed all three phases of the refresher course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he began preparations to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 for the second time.
Read More
Related Media
Indy 500 Superbowl Commerical
 
Indy 500 Commercial Adds to Spectacle of Super Bowl Broadcast
The commercial – a first for the Indianapolis 500 during the NFL’s marquee game -- will air regionally around the Midwest.
Read More
Fan Memories
 
Fan Memories: 'Race Day is Christmas Morning'
Trent Pohlar, originally from Indianapolis and now living in Greenwood, Indiana, will be attending his 49th consecutive Indianapolis 500. Pohlar, 59, works as a project sales manager for Architectural Glass & Metal Company, Inc.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Dixon Unveils Throwback Livery for 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Season
Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) announced today the return of the team’s classic “Lightning Bolt” livery to the No. 9 Target Chevrolet driven by four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon for the 2016 season.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Honda and INDYCAR Announce Multiyear Extension
INDYCAR and Honda announced a multiyear extension to the agreement that retains the manufacturer as an engine supplier to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Read More
Max Chilton
 
Chilton Joins Ganassi Lineup for 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Season
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced Feb. 1 that the former Formula 1 driver from Reigate, England will pilot the No. 8 Chevrolet in a full-season effort for the 2016 season.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,061
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @GrahamRahal: I really enjoyed myself at #SB50, but let me tell you, being there once again confirmed there is NOTHING like the #Indy500!
about 15 hours ago